From Professor Richard Reece | DVC Education & Student Experience
Earlier this week, the UCU trade union announced a series of planned strike days in February and March as part of their long-running national dispute over pay, pensions and working conditions. If the strikes go ahead, it will be an unprecedented period of disruption for which I am very sorry – it is our sincere hope that a national agreement can be reached beforehand. In the meantime, we are working on contingency plans in a number of areas to limit the impact on your studies if the strikes do indeed go ahead.
We know from the action before Christmas that the impact of strike days is likely to be very different in different areas of the University. We will therefore send further information next week to reflect this, including where you will be able to find out more about what this means for you. There is more information on the background to the strikes on our industrial action student info pages.
Planned strike days
Strike days are due to take place at all universities across the country on the following days:
- Wednesday 1 February
- Thursday 9 and Friday 10 February
- Tuesday 14 to Thursday 16 February inclusive
- Tuesday 21 to Thursday 23 February inclusive
- Monday 27 Feb to Thursday 2 March inclusive
- Thursday 16 to Friday 17 March
- Monday 20 to Wednesday 22 March inclusive
What we will do throughout
Strike negotiations take place nationally which means we cannot solve the dispute here at Kent. However, we continue to urge all parties to keep talking so they can find a way forward that balances staff being fairly rewarded for their hard work while recognising the financial pressures the country faces.
When I wrote last year, I set out our principles around industrial action which will remain throughout:
- We will do all we can to mitigate any impact on your studies
- We will never devalue your degree or coursework
- We will refund you for any direct expenses you incur as a result of strikes
- Any staff salaries saved as a result of strike days will be reinvested in your student experience
- We will be open and transparent throughout
I will write again next week with more information on this, including the practical steps we are taking to ensure your studies continue throughout this.
Finding out more
I know how frustrating this will be and how many questions many of you will have. I want you all to have the opportunity to ask any questions around this directly so will be setting up a series of both online and in-person events in February where we can talk this through together. In the meantime, there is more information on the Industrial Action webpages including how and where you can chat to someone if you have any concerns about this.
Thank you for your patience with this very challenging situation, and I will be in touch again shortly.